Tag Archives: publishing

Wanted: Your Fiction and Poetry Submissions

I caught the mentoring bug back in 2013. Back then, I was working in Monroe College’s English department. A vacancy had sprung up in the faculty sponsorship of the campus Poetry Club. I thought what the hell, let’s see what these kids have to offer.

Some of the poets, eh, they didn’t do much for me; however, I was blown away by some of talent in the Poetry Club. Most notably, by my friend Shawn Hudson, whose grim poetry detailing life on the streets in the Bronx really appealed to my gritty and edgy sensibilities.

Talent can come from anywhere. Sure, many of the “name brand” authors deserve their reputation. No one is questioning that they’re good. But as both a writer and a businessman, I’ve made a career out of finding diamonds in the rough.

Are you a diamond?

Sending Your Submissions

Here’s the deal. My blog posts can only help writers in the abstract; however, every situation is distinct. That’s one of the reasons why I’m opening The Literary Game to submissions. I want to help writers directly.

Of course, there’s a condition. You have to be brave. I’ve been a publisher and editor at literary magazines for six years. Form rejections are polite. That politeness doesn’t help authors. An author who receives a form rejection often has no idea why their work was rejected.

I’m doing things differently.

Every author who sends me their work agrees to the fact that they will receive an honest critique. If your work is derivative, full of spelling and grammatical errors, and awash with missed opportunities, I’ll tell you just that.

It comes down to a question: Do I want politeness or do I want the truth?

If you want politeness, please go elsewhere. If you want the truth, I would love to check out your writing.

Submissions Guidelines

I’ll try to keep this simple.

Fiction: I’m accepting both short fiction and novel excerpts. Samples exceeding 3,000 words will be deleted unread. All writing should be pasted in the body of an email.

Poetry: Send up to three poems in the body of an email.

Cover Letters: If you truly like this blog, please go ahead and mention it. If you’re just looking for free feedback or a chance at a publishing credit, that’s cool. No need to BS by including a cover letter.

Genre: All genres accepted.

Email: theliterarygame at gmail dot com

The Fun Part

Works of exceptional quality will be published on the blog, but so will works in dire need of improvement.

My goal here isn’t to embarrass anyone, but rather to be honest about what needs major improvement. On that note, for the truly brave among the authors whose works are declined, there’s an option to have your writing featured on the site anyway with my feedback. This is a direct way to educate readers on how to avoid certain traps. Not cool with that? No worries. I’ll only publish rejected submissions with your consent.

What Are You Waiting For?

Email your submission to me today at theliterarygame dot gmail dot com and/or share this post with your literary-minded friends.

In success,
Alfonso

 

 

How to Sell Copies of Your Book: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Thirty copies sold in the first few months. Add a few more if you have a wider social circle.

A one dollar royalty check from KDP.

Scary, right? You spent months – maybe years – writing your book, but that’s what you know in your heart of hearts you have on the horizon after you self-publish.

Why bother? Am I right?

Why bother indeed, unless you know how to market and sell copies of your book.

The strategy I want to share with you can work for almost any type of book. I can’t guarantee that you’ll sell millions of copies, but I can guarantee that you’ll sell more copies trying this than asking your friends to write five star book reviews.

Without further ado, let’s get down to it!

  1. Determine your niches.

Simply put, who would be interested in your book?

When I begin reaching out to promote The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn, I will be targeting three communities in earnest: the New Age spirituality community; the esoteric mysteries community; and the folklore/mythology community. That doesn’t mean other people won’t be interested in the book that my partner and I co-wrote, it just means that we’re focusing our attention on reaching out to the people most likely to be interested in our book.

2. Research online influencers in your niche.

You want to find about two hundred sources (YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers) who are influencers (at least 10k subscribers as measured by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter followers) within your niche.

With the YouTubers and podcasters, make sure that they do interviews on their channels/podcasts.

Write down their URL and contact information on an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your sources.

3. Research Their Content

Spend some time watching at least one full video or podcast interview of a guest. Take notes on the format. Are things kept light? What’s the vibe? Are there certain segments?

The point is to make sure that when you pitch the source you cannot be perceived as an opportunist. You will absolutely NOT get booked if you don’t do your homework and make sure that your book would provide genuine value to their fanbase.

 4. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch

Form letters are useless. Write from the heart. Make a clear value proposition as to how interviewing you about your book would benefit the content creator and their audience. No one cares about how this would benefit you. If you come from a place of wanting to help people, influencers will be far more inclined to help you.

Some Statistics

If you are able to land interviews (or guest posts/coverage) from 40 of the 200 sources you pitch and if they have an average of 20k subscribers, your reach will be 800,000 people who are within your book’s target market.

If even 2% of these people buy your book, that’s 16,000 copies sold.

Self-published Amazon bestsellers often sell only around 4,000 copies.

Now, with a viral effect from your hustle, who knows what can happen?

As long as your book falls within a niche, you can execute this plan.

You can absolutely do this by yourself and achieve great results, but just in case you want a little help along the way, shoot me an email. I’m in the process of helping one author on his marketing campaign, but I have enough availability to work with one more author so reach out ASAP before my schedule is booked.

I’m getting after my literary dreams. I hope you do likewise, friends!

-Alfonso

It’s Been An Interesting Year

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Hey friends. It’s been way too long! Time to give this another shot.

Let me catch you all up to speed because this has been an incredible year.

That beautiful cover at the top of this post is for my first book, The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn. 

My co-writer Vakasha Brenman and I were able to reach a deal with O-Books, the UK’s leading publisher of spiritually-oriented works. Copies are on the way in early 2020.

Now wait, I get what you’re thinking if you’ve read any of my writing or seen my last informational post: this guy wrote a book about unicorns?

Actually, I co-wrote it, but yes I did.

And yes, a lot of my writing has some serious edge to it, but I’ve seen some crazy times and I find the whole process of funneling that darkness into my poetry and short fiction (and sometimes into this blog) to be cathartic.

But unicorns are also fuckin’ rad. Seriously.

On a different note, I’ve been working on a new ghostwritten novel over the last six months. I would love to share more details about the work, but unfortunately the terms of the contract limit my ability to disclose my involvement.

For this super secret new ghostwritten novel, I will be orchestrating a marketing campaign to generate press. We have big plans for the novel and I refuse to let my partner down.

The good thing? This plan to generate buzz can work for (almost) any book, as long as there’s at least one natural niche that would be drawn to it. That’s why I’ve started to offer my services as a guerrilla book marketer. You should check it out if you have a book that hasn’t been getting much attention or want to launch your book with a bang.

From day one, my goal for this blog was to empower writers.

I hate the fact that talented writers have to have day jobs.

I hate the fact that talented writers can’t write because they’re stressed about the bills.

I can’t promise you’ll blow up and sell five million copies (that’s not likely to happen, but who knows?), but if you can reach a large audience and generate a nice chunk of side income or if things go well, make a career of it, then I’ve done my job.

But it’s also about the fun. Never forget that. I haven’t.

I launched a new portfolio called Writerly Nomad. And yes, unlike Man vs. Goals, there’s actually more than one post there. This is my new space to connect my writing directly to readers. I’ve published in competitive literary magazines. Hell, I even ran one. They serve their place, but for me, the fun of it is just writing and having people dig what you wrote. Everything else is just the theatrics of the scene and I’m over that.

Well, this has been a whirlwind of a post. I hope you’ve all been well and let’s keep getting after it together!

Cheers,
Alfonso

Patience Sucks. Patience Works.

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One year.

I had to wait one fucking year between my first conversation with a client and starting the project.

Did it suck?

Are you deef? Of course it sucked.

But oh my God was it worth it.

My client paid five figures. There are writers with book deals with presses whose advances aren’t even close to that. I received that from a dude.

My client is awesome. Not only is he a badass pilot, but he gave me everything I needed to successfully write what he wanted, without micromanaging my ass along the way. He knew I was a professional and treated like me a professional, not like his bitch.

My client’s project is awesome. A kinetic screenplay set in the world of counterterrorism and espionage. Uhh, fuck yeah.

Waiting a year, yeah, not fun.

But you know what, if you’re not willing to pay some dues, you’ll never break into the literary game.

Sorry.

You’re just not that important yet. If you act like a diva, you’re going to lose any opportunities that may come up.

I’m not saying to just hold fast and wait. You’re not passive (and if you are, knock that shit off), but sometimes things don’t go on your schedule, they go on the gatekeeper’s.

You damn well can try to speed them up, but never, ever, ever, EVER get pissy about it.

Unless you want to be a nobody forever. If that’s what you want, have fun.

The same situation’s come up again for me.

Through a whole bunch of weird and complex life events, I was connected to a New York Times bestselling author.

He read a screenplay I wrote.

He met with me.

And he told me, “Normally I tell people it’s a great accomplishment that you finished a script. Most people never complete one. But here’s what you should do: put it in a drawer, close the drawer, and never open the drawer ever again.”

Do you know how many assholes are constantly bothering a successful writer for a favor, or to front something?

First off, I know I have the luck of the devil himself to even get a read from this guy.

Second, when you have someone who sold over a million copies of their book telling you you’re good, it feels pretty fucking sweet.

Third, when the guy says he’ll connect you to an agent, and then chews you out for why in your early 30s you’re not already writing for Hollywood, then that’s almost surreal.

But then a year later, you’re still occasionally exchanging emails, trying to push him on to connect you.

It’s easy to be a loser and bitch and moan. Most writers would do that in a situation like that. That’s why most writers are wasting their time and should give it up.

But not you, right? You can see this for what it is, a test.

And you’ll pass it because you won’t give up.

If you’re an outsider, you need a leg up to break into the literary game.

Or the screenwriting game.

Or anything big.

If you want to blow up, or change the world, or get rich, or do something other than work as a barista, you damn well need powerful allies.

And your powerful allies are, by nature, more powerful than you.

They can make your career.

Or, if you alienate them, they can keep you doomed to obscurity.

What do you think’s the better way?

When you find your opportunities and your allies, make it happen.

And if you can’t make it happen quickly, then hang on for a long ride.

Free 1,000 Word Edit and Critique

Introduction

“Don’t make a career out of this.”

A professor at my alma mater wrote that comment on one of my first short stories.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the first 24 magazines I submitted my short fiction to all responded with form rejections.

In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t start as a literary phenom. I thought I was a hack. I wanted to give up.

But then everything changed. My ignoble start transitioned into the first taste of success. Many literary magazines began to accept my short stories and poetry.

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Later, I’d receive an amazing contract for a nonfiction book with a monthly stipend and a heavy percentage upon publication.

I’d also earn a five-figure writing contract for a screenplay that I completed in two months.

Five figures for two months work. Not bad, right?

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How did I do it?

I put my pride aside and realized that I, like all writers, needed an editor to perfect my writing.

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I couldn’t edit my writing on my own because it was too close to me. The thought of murdering my literary babies was abhorrent.

But my editors had no problem doing that, and I reaped the rewards.

Because I Advanced, I Want To Help You Advance

From day one, it’s always been my goal to use The Literary Game to help writers learn the ins and outs of craft, publishing, networking, and staying sane as you’re in the process of advancing.

I’ve offered editing services for four years now, and have helped many writers perfect their manuscripts.

But I realized that I could do a whole lot more to help writers who truly want to succeed.

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And so, that’s what I’m doing now.

For the next two weeks, I’m offering a free 1,000 word edit and critique

If you want a free edit and critique, just email me a part of your manuscript in the body of your email.

If you feel confident in my abilities, I invite you to work with me as your editor.

Unlike other editors, I offer complementary services designed to market and publish your book. These include:

  • Sending a list of agents and publishers that represent/publish your genre of writing.
  • A draft of your query letter.
  • A one hour interview that will be promoted on The Literary Game and on my Twitter.
  • Two guest posts on The Literary Game, which you can use to promote your book, other writing, or any other objective.
  • Five hours of phone/Skype/Google Hangout consultations.
  • One year of email correspondence on any question related to writing, networking, or publishing.

If you’ve already looked around at other editors or editing services, you’ll find that my prices are extremely fair.

If you’re ready to take your manuscript to the next level and advance your writing career, let’s take the journey together.

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Conclusion

Trust is critical to an editor-writer relationship. I’m offering a free 1,000 word edit and critique because I want you to be confident that I’m the best editor for you.

To get started, you can learn more about my services, or email me directly.

The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing

Introduction

I didn’t start writing until I was twenty.

I don’t mean I didn’t start taking writing seriously until I was twenty, I mean I didn’t write anything that wasn’t for a school assignment until I was twenty.

No short stories.

No poems.

No novels.

No nonfiction.

OK, scratch that last one. I did write about thirty pages of a memoir on my old IBM Aptiva. I have no idea where that partial manuscript is, and that’s probably for the best.

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When I transferred to Beloit College, I decided to become a Creative Writing major because it seemed like fun, and it was, but back then I had many, many, MANY misconceptions about what being a writer meant.

Top Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Writing As A Twenty-Year-Old Absolute Beginner

1. Writing is rewriting.

You just finished your novel. Great. Now the fun really begins.

2. Rewriting is not a quick process.

God may have created the Earth in six days; however, you will not complete your manuscript in anywhere near that time frame.

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3. Working with an editor isn’t optional, but necessary.

My short stories wouldn’t have been published without the assistance of Rairigh Drum, who was my developmental editor. My screenplays wouldn’t have attracted the attention of a New York Times best-selling author and a screenwriter who has worked with Spielberg without the assistance of a developmental editor. My non-fiction book wouldn’t have…you get the point.

4. Writing well isn’t enough, you need to think like an entrepreneur to get noticed.

Is it ugly? Yeah, maybe, but the days of the pure writer who refuses to attend to the business end of things is over. Those writers are doomed to obscurity.

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5. Success doesn’t come overnight.

Trust the process. If you know that you’re good, go out and prove it. Stay the course, and don’t lose your confidence if you don’t rapidly advance.

6. Networking with other writers (and, if possible, with editors, publishers, and agents) can open up many doors.

Remember that saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, it’s both. Don’t be isolated.

7. Most publishers will have zero interest in your writing and will reject it, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have talent.

Publishers and agents receive an incredibly large amount of submissions. They also usually have very strict criteria about what types of work they publish/represent. Receiving rejections is inevitable. I’ve had over 60 short stories and poems published and scout publications carefully, and still only have an acceptance rate of about 25-30%.

8. You can’t half ass your way to quality writing; you have to whole ass it.

If you’re planning on going through the motions, just put down your pen and give it up.

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9. Not all writers are miserable people, and you don’t have to be miserable to write.

Although I won’t lie, sometimes it helps. 😉

10. You don’t have to drink to excess to write well, but sometimes it can be fun.

Nostrovia!

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Conclusion

“He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory.” – Lao Tzu

Don’t make mistakes based on incorrect perspectives about being a writer.

Make writing a consistent habit, work with an editor that you can trust, network, realize this is a process, and try to keep a sense of humor. If you do all that, and you have some talent, you’ll be more than fine.

What Do You Wish You Knew When You Started Writing?

Leave a comment below!

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In Need Of An Editor?

Check out my editing services page.

Fighting the good fight with you,
Alfonso

It’s Not You, It’s Me: A Truth About Rejection Letters

Introduction

If you’ve ever received a rejection letter from a publisher or literary agent, then you know just how much it sucks.

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But there is some good news.

Really, it’s them, it’s not you.

The Biggest Reason Why Your Writing Gets Rejected

I have a close friend who has an almost ungodly amount of perseverance. Usually, that’s an amazing thing to behold. Usually.

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A friend of hers is a poet. I’m the editor-in-chief of a literary magazine. Hey, wouldn’t it be great to feature her poetry in your magazine, Alfonso?

Nope.

While my friend’s friend’s poetry is strong, and she’s quite accomplished, this woman’s work was completely outside of the parameters of the writing we publish at Beautiful Losers Magazine.

Does the fact that this woman’s writing was rejected for our magazine mean she was a bad poet? Absolutely not.

The truth is that every agent, publisher, and literary magazine has VERY specific requirements of what they’re looking for. If you aren’t an exact match for those parameters, your writing will probably be rejected.

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And it doesn’t mean you suck as a writer.

And it doesn’t mean that particular piece sucked.

It just means that you need to find a better home for your writing.

If you’ve received tons of rejections, you’d better spend a little bit more time finding an appropriate place for your writing.

Now if you’ve been doing this legwork and still are receiving tons of rejections, you may want to consider having your work edited by a professional editor. I’m available, kids!

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Conclusion

Treat agents and publishers like members of your preferred sex. You wouldn’t marry just anyone, would you?

Don’t send your writing to agents and publishers without screening.

Unless you like being left at the altar, you fucking masochist.

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Like What You Read? Like What You Read!

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If you found this post helpful, please do me a solid and like and subscribe. If you’re really looking for a way to get on my good side, then share this post on social media.

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

Fighting the good fight with you,
Alfonso